Texas A&M Animal Science Professor Howard Hesby Dies

The Texas horse industry, as well as professors and students at Texas A&M University, are mourning the loss of Dr. Howard Hesby, who died unexpectedly July 23. Dr. Hesby was boarding his plane in the Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas, en route to the American Society of Animal Science Annual meetings in Cincinnati, Ohio, when he collapsed as he was placing his luggage in the overhead compartment of the plane.

Hesby was born on October 25, 1943 in Arlington, South Dakota.

Since joining the Texas A&M's Department of Animal Science in 1971, Hesby had taught or advised more than 15,000 undergraduate students. He taught introductory animal science, careers, animal production, agribusiness and equine science courses.

Dr. Larry Boleman, assistant deputy vice chancellor at Texas A&M, said, “Dr. Hesby has meant so much to so many students, staff and faculty throughout his 34-year career here in the animal science department at Texas A&M.

“His life was all about caring and service, and his career revolved totally around students to make them the best they could be. He is irreplaceable in the department, and it would take four professors to accomplish his daily routine of activities associated with the care of the Kleberg Center and its students.”

Dr. Chris Skaggs, professor and one of Hesby’s colleagues in the undergraduate student advising section, said, “It is impossible to capture what Dr. Hesby meant to the animal science department, our college and the university. I have never met a person with more genuine care and concern for the individual student.”

Hesby touched the lives of students through teaching, advising, career preparation and educational field trips, Skaggs said. He used his industry contacts to secure internship and post-graduation job opportunities.

“He had the ability to make students feel at ease in his office to discuss their hopes and dreams,” Skaggs said. “He got to know them as individuals. I marveled at his ability to always bring out the best in each student. Dr. Hesby epitomized Texas A&M at its finest.”

Agricultural broadcaster Roddy Peeples of Dallas, who hosted one of Hesby’s career field trips, said, “I know that hundreds - probably thousands - of students will remember him fondly, as I am sure the animal science faculty will, and all the rest of us who had the privilege of knowing him. He will truly be missed.”

Dr. Doug Hufstedler of Flint, nutritionist with Livestock Management Consultants LLC and a former student, said, “There was never a life connected with the animal science department that was not positively impacted by the actions and/or words of Dr. Hesby. His influence for good will be truly missed.”

Hesby earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from South Dakota State University, and a master’s degree in animal nutrition and doctorate in swine nutrition from Purdue University. He was a faculty advisor to the Saddle and Sirloin Club and several other on-campus clubs.

He is survived by his wife, Kay; a brother and sister-in-law, Stanley and Marylin Hesby of Voga, S.D.; an uncle, Lars Steinness of Seattle, Wash.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27 at Peace Lutheran Church, 2201 Rio Grande St., in College Station. A reception in the atrium of the Kleberg Center at Texas A&M will be held immediately following the services. Parking will be available in Lots 61 and 74 near Kleberg. Burial will be in Voga, S.D.

The family is requesting that instead of flowers, donations be made to a memorial scholarship fund. Checks should be made payable to the Texas A&M Foundation. Donations can be mailed to the Howard Hesby Scholarship Fund, Texas A&M University, Department of Animal Science, 2471 TAMU, College Station, TX 77854-2471.

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